The Weather, It Is A-Changin’

Wow…  I mean, FUCKING-A wow!  What a fantastic little stretch of weather we’re having here in Southern New Hampshire.  I tossed on my shorts for yesterday and today’s runs.  Rocking out with the white-ass legs and loving every minute of it.  Picked up a new pair of ear buds, some cheapo $20, over the ear ones that worked pretty well today.  It’s amazing how weather plays such a huge part in my mental health.  I’m not saying I’m unique in this, it’s just such a nice change of pace.  I’m like an idiot dog that completely forgets that winter isn’t forever and right around the corner, we’ll all be out there dropping gallons of sweat and looking towards Autumn for some relief from the heat.

Here’s a big middle finger to everyone who hates the time change coming this weekend too.  I LOVE IT!  In the bat of an eye, we add an hour of daylight to the afternoon!  It’s incredible.  I know, I know, we “lose” and hour of sleep, but anyone with children…  or dogs for that matter, know they aren’t aware there’s a time difference.  They don’t give a shit I’d prefer to sleep an extra hour.  I’ve learned to embrace the spring time change.  The way I see it, if you leave work at say 4:30, your body gets ready to leave work at 4:30, but now your body’s 4:30 is actually 3:30.  See?  You’ve tricked your dumb brain and you feel like you’re leaving early.  So save all your pissy Twitter and Facebook posts and get ready to enjoy your extra hour!  You’re welcome.

Gym Workouts and Computer Upgrades

It’s been an interesting first week of my alcohol-free diet.  First things first, it’s been way easier than I anticipated it would be.  I’ve been able to go to bed relatively early and am getting some decent sleep.  I’ve logged 14 miles running with another 6 planned today, plus 28 miles on the bike.  It’s windy as fuck today, so I might wait until tomorrow to hit the extra 6 before this weekend’s “Longer” runs.  Not really going to push it.  On Saturday I plan on hitting Drummer for the first time this year.  Chris wants to check out the course for this June’s Race and I always like going up there.  Depending on how that goes, I’ll head out Sunday for some junk miles or maybe hit the gym and do a little treadmill and bike work.

Onto the computer side of things.  I’ve been thinking about upgrading my graphics card for months now and I’m finally settling on a card.  I’m thinking about the AMD R9 380.  It’s locking around Amazon and Newegg for around $200, and maybe in a few weeks I can pull the trigger on it, we’ll see.  I’m not going to lie, it’s all about playing Fallout 4.  I wish I could finagle something about needing it for work, but it ain’t.  I was able to play Witcher 3 on my current card at low settings and it wasn’t terrible, but I’m super jealous of the details I missed, and don’t want the same thing to happen with Fallout 4.

First 20 of the Year

45mphSunday I knocked out my first 20 miler of the year.  It was an absolutely stunning February day and I was able to hit the rail trail for a majority of the run.  I’m pretty enthusiastic about the day and that I got in a 20 miler this early into this training cycle.  My right foot, which has given me the majority of pain since Ghost Train, feels pretty good and the knees were a little pinged later in the day, but mostly I feel my body has recovered nicely and ready for another week of training.

Yesterday I went to the gym for a 20 mile recovery ride on the stationary bike.  I’m actually not really sure how accurate the distance on those bikes are and if I’m going to hard or not hard enough on the tension.  I would love to build a trainer system with one of those fancy-ass computer programs that I see popping up on Strava here and there, but I’m scraping by with 2 pairs of aging shoes right now and don’t have nearly enough scratch to throw at a franken-trainer.

Probably the biggest news of the week is that I am officially quitting drinking until after the Spring Classic.  I’m struggling to drop the weight, and high-octane craft beers don’t exactly add to the strategic caloric plan I want to embrace.  I’m also going to try and do some sort of workout every day.  I’m even considering one of those daily, home workout subscriptions I keep seeing on Hulu.

I know April isn’t the goal month for the year and there are plenty of months left in the year and plenty of races, but I want a strong summer of training and feel like I’m behind already, although the 40 miles I put in this week makes me feel a little better.  Ghost Train registration just went live and I also want to do Pisgah again.  It’s a long season and I need to remind myself that I have plenty of time to run plenty of trails.

8 Miles On Trashed Legs

It’s been a while since I put in any significant mid-week miles and yesterday it showed.  I put in 4 on Tuesday, 8 on Wednesday, including 4 miles of intervals, and 8 yesterday.  After my marathon last April, I started up again too soon and really exhausted myself.  Then, in an attempt to mix up my training, switched from a mile based plan to a time based plan.  Even though I was able to complete my goal of 45 miles at Ghost Train, looking back, I don’t think I was training hard enough.  On the other hand, I think that if I had trained harder, I might have actually injured myself and not have been able to race at all.  Either way, I’m feeling way behind where I think I should be in my training for this year’s TARC Spring Classic.

The most telling example is yesterday’s run.  I went out feeling truly beat.  The kind of beat you feel in the last part of a race.  It was an all-around shit show.  It was warmish, but with a pouring rain.  A mile in, I cleared my nose and it started bleeding ridiculously, which lasted until about mile 4.  A few miles later, all the blood that I had swallowed started to turn my stomach.  I kept from barfing, but that made me almost shit myself…  All on legs that felt like cement.

I’m glad I got in the 20 miles this week with another 20 planned for the weekend.  I haven’t hit 40 in a while and am looking forward to pushing myself on the rail trail if it’s not a skating rink.  I love heading out and just doing a long out and back.  There’s excitement in exploring new trails, but I also love the comfort of a soothing out and back.  I’ll line up some podcasts and just get lost in my head without getting lost in the woods.

Beard, No Beard

I’m trying hard to beat the February doldrums with anything I can to shake it up.  Yes, even shaving the beard.  When I was younger and felt I needed to make a mental switch, I’d shave my head.  Not exactly sure why I thought a physical change would help with a mental hurdle, but it did.  Before I shaved the beard, I thought I would miss it or quickly realize that I’d made a huge mistake, but really it’s not that big a deal.  I might put it back on come fall, but for now, I’m enjoying not having beard in my food or food in my beard.

Yesterday I planned on hitting the treadmill and bike at the gym, but unfortunately, ran out of time and was only able to run.  I did manage to get in 8 miles, split between 4 miles of quarter mile intervals and 4 miles of an easier pace.  One thing I love about the gym is that I can catch up on my Hulu queue.  If the wife doesn’t particularly like a show, I toss it into my gym queue.  I’m currently watching the new X-Files and 11.22.63 which I’m completely digging on.  Without spoiling anything, the last few minutes of the second episode of 11.22.63 was so frantic that I unconsciously sped up my cadence and almost ran into the front of the treadmill.

Beard, No Beard

Shredding the Tread

I’ve been a total baby about being outside lately.  Sometimes I’m just so pathetic about it.  My friends are calling me a baby, but honestly, if I wasn’t hitting the gym, I wouldn’t be doing anything.  I stopped running on treadmills for any distance over 4-5 miles because I’d get these blisters on the bottom of my toes.  2Toms to the rescue.  I’ve been using 2Toms as my lube of choice for a while now and figured I’d give it a try on the tootsies.  This has made a world of difference during the crappy New England winters.  We’ve had a very mild winter, but February is my El Guapo and I’d take a treadmill run over sitting on my ass any day.  I’ve also added stationary biking to my workout.  On longer running days like today, I’ll run for 4 miles, add in 10 miles on the bike and then hit 4 more on the mill.  On shorter days, like yesterday, I ran my 4 miles and then finished off with 10 on the bike.  My 10 miles on a stationary bike takes about a half hour and adding that extra cardio is helping in my longer, outdoor, weekend runs.

As for the blog, I’ve decided to close down greyrunner.com and just use this place as my catch all blog.  Starting next week, I’m going to start some new fitness tactics and really try to record them daily.  March tends to go one of two ways.  Shitty, late snow and cold or beautiful early spring.  I’ve been burned too many times thinking positively about the weather, so I plan mentally that it’s going to blow.  That’s why I’m going to make some changes and hit this blog again.

Metatarsal, Metashmarsal

badfootDamn foot.  Damn, stupid foot.  Yesterday I ran for the first time since Ghost Train and I thought, besides the cobwebs needing to be kicked out, it went really well.  That was until later in the night when I got up from the couch and felt an incredible pain in the bottom of my left foot.  Right on the outside there.  Right where the internet tells me is my Metatarsal.  Right where the internet tells me is a common location for an overuse injury.  Balls.

I first told myself that I was going to take the next few weeks off from running, but the weather is perfect and it’s hard not to get out there and enjoy the last parts of fall before the winter interrupts and kicks in the scrotum.  Now I’m feeling that I’m going to be forced to take this time off.  Cutting out the running and hitting the gym.  Burning the last good weather of the year inside, barf.

Could be worse, could be INJURED injured.  Guess I’ll just get swoll and test it out in a few weeks.  Time to dig out those padded bike shorts and headphones, best to make something positive out of this break.  I could definitely use the weight and core training.

Back On the Horse

With my last race of the year completed and the New England winter approaching, I’m in that spot where sitting at my computer, playing a video game sounds way more appealing than covering up in layers and hitting the trails with a headlamp…  Thanks a ton daylight savings.  This is where I need that little extra push to get my ass out of the house and do some work.  I’ve just started to put together a winter program and plan on incorporating a new diet to help get through the winter doldrums without an all-out depression setting in.  My first race of next year will be the TARC Spring Classic.  This year’s Spring Classic was my first marathon and I’m going for the 50K this year.  I’m adding something new to this winter’s training, a weight goal.  I would like to be around 165 or so by race day.  Over the summer, I’ve put on a little weight.  Some of it is muscle, I definitely feel more strength when climbing hills, but some of it is most certainly from cookouts and beer.  I’m sitting around 180 now, and feel confident that I can shave 15 pounds by April 23.

My main goal for 2016 will be finishing at least one 50 miler and using Ghost Train, at the end of the season, as another experiment to see how far I can go.  I was excited to hit 45 miles this year, but would have liked to have gotten another loop in.  It’s a little odd how excited I am to have these goals, especially the weight loss.  I’ve found that I take my diet and training way more seriously when I put solid, attainable goals out in front of me.

Beginning Winter Training

Last weekend’s Ghost Train was my last scheduled race for this year and after I take this gluttonous, lazy week off, I’m going to start my winter training.  I started having some serious pain in the bottom of my feet, especially my left foot, so I might take a few weeks off from running and start next week with the stationary bike at the gym.  Looking back on how last winter turned out, I’m hopeful that I can add a little more muscle while I burn off some more chub.  Without the lead up to a race, I feel like I can get into a more regular running routine.  I still have the training plan my friend made up for me, and I intend to mix in some other exercises to get through this winter pain free.

I need, like really need, to start writing here again.  I feel better than I thought I would after running 45 miles last weekend, but don’t want to push it before I need to.  It’s a long winter up in these parts and I want to enter it healthy and strong.  This blog keeps me thinking about my training, and I definitely feel like I am deconstructing my running more when I sit down to write about it.  We’ll see, I’ve said this before and rightly neglected it.

39 Miles on My 39th Birthday

Well, this old man turned 39 on Wednesday and I decided to attempt dumping out my age over the course of the day.  When I first thought up this little plan, I also wanted to do different runs with different people that I’ve run with over the past year.  That worked out ok.  My sister and friend Chris were able to make it and my buddy John would have, but spent the previous day in the ER with blood poisoning…  seriously, what is this, 1915?  Get better buddy.

I started by going to bed early on Tuesday and getting up at 2:30 for a 3am start.  I wanted to get at least 13 in before I had to be back at home on account of my wife needing to leave for work around 5.  It felt good running in the dark, it’s been a while since I’ve creeped myself out on a trail, with a headlamp, by myself.  I was able to put in over 13 before heading home and making coffee.  At this point I felt good and was stoked to get a third of the miles done.

After hanging with my daughter at the coffee shop for a while, we went over to my folks place which is near one of my favorite, local trail systems, Drummer Hill.  After visiting with my parents for a bit, I took off, up the hills for a little over 7 miles.  I was a little worried about how my legs would respond, but they were surprisingly springy and I was able to have a great time bouncing around the single tracks and fire roads before heading back to my parents place.  After that, we headed home and I took about an hour before heading back out, this time on the roads to even my overall mileage at 24.  When I got back, I showered, tried to eat something and took a little nap.  Although I was only able to pass out for about 20 minutes, it felt good to lay down.  I then started getting myself ready for the last 15 miles which I was breaking up into 2 runs.

The first, a 3 miler with my sister, who is recovering from a bitch of a knee problem and the second, the last 12, with Chris.  The first run was great.  I haven’t run with my sister in a long time and miss our conversations.  I’m definitely ready for her to get healthy and back out there this fall.  After about 20 minutes, I headed back out onto the rail trail, up about a mile to where Chris lives.  From there we continued up the rail trail for an out and back.  You should know, Chris is a hell of a trail runner and when he takes me on runs, I’m usually following him up stupid climbs and amazing single track.  I felt like a baby, but told him there’s no way that shit was going to happen today.  He had no problem with it and was great slowing to run my pace and keep my mind light with jokes and stories.  If I ever run a 50 or 100, I’ll beg this guy to pace me, he’s great.

That’s about it.  The day ended with beers and burgers at Elm City Brewing Company.  Overall, I feel good about the day.  I wish I had planned out a better eating schedule.  I wasn’t able to eat any “real” food until dinner.  My nutrition over the day consisted of bananas, Honey Stinger Waffles, Huma gels, raw almonds and Tailwind.  Although I didn’t bonk on any of my runs, I definitely need to start taking in regular chow before Ghost Train in November.

39 on my 39th.  That’s how it went down.  Next year maybe 40?  All at once?  Yup.